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President Hinckley Speaks at BYU-Idaho Building Dedication

President Gordon B. Hinckley

(Rexburg, Idaho) -- October 22, 2002
Editor's Note: President Hinckley spoke at the dedication service today for the new Gordon B. Hinckley building on the BYU-Idaho campus.  His remarks at the ceremony were as follows:

President Monson, Elder Eyring, President Bednar, distinguished guests, faculty and students, what a great honor you do me. When President Bednar proposed the naming of this building to the Board of Trustees where I serve as chairman, I was simply flummoxed. (See if you know what that word means.) I did not know what to say. I was taken by surprise. I was stunned. I simply said in the language peculiar to the lawyers, "I recuse myself." I turned to President Monson, and said, "You run the meeting."

Someone once asked Abraham Lincoln how it felt to be president. He replied, "Well now, it feels sort of like the fellow they run out of town on a rail. If it wasn’t for the honor of it, I’d just as soon walk!"

I feel I can honestly say that I had no desire for such an honor. It had never crossed my mind. I did not seek it, but I am grateful for your great kindness in extending it to me. The name of this building will be a constant reminder to me to live worthy of the trust that you have placed in me and a reminder to my posterity that someone honored their forebear and in so doing brought a sacred trust to those who carry his name.

President Monson and President Bednar have spoken to you. That is enough for one day. But I am told that I am expected to say something. I will try to keep it to the point and make it brief.

I wish to speak to the students of this great institution. I have a granddaughter who is among them.

Something remarkable is happening on this campus. You may not be entirely aware of it. It was a very long time in coming. Many years ago its destiny was debated very hotly. Some wanted to make of this a four-year school and move it to Idaho Falls. They very strongly argued for their wish. But the Board of Trustees, after listening to everyone who had anything to say, concluded to leave Ricks in Rexburg and continue it as a two-year college. It has thus continued until two years ago. The announcement that came in the year 2000 was bold, and I believe prophetic. It came of a desire to offer to the good young people of this Church, in larger numbers, the great privilege of attending and graduating from a Church university. By moving from two years to four years this could be accomplished.

It happened at the time that President Bednar was in office. There may be others, but I do not know of anyone else who could have overseen and brought about the miracle that has occurred on this campus. I assure you that it is a miracle.

I am deeply grateful that the Ricks family showed no resentment over the change of the name. It is a tribute to them and a recognition of their great faithfulness as Latter-day Saints. Well they might have wished that the school continue under the name of their worthy forebear, Thomas E. Ricks.

But it was thought that recognition of the school might be further enhanced by carrying the BYU badge. I believe the wisdom of that has been shown.

A willingness to give up intercollegiate athletics is much appreciated. I remind you that it is not unique for a first-class university to get along without an intercollegiate athletic program. If you wish to regard this as a great sacrifice, then take satisfaction from the fact that you are willing to make such a sacrifice. As a matter of fact, I attended the BYU football game last Saturday and almost came to the conclusion that they could get along without an intercollegiate athletic program.

To the faculty who were willing to make adjustments and have given up some treasured prerogatives in that process, I extend my sincere thanks. I hope, I pray, that you are finding greater happiness and increased excitement in the new status which has come to the school.

To the people of Rexburg, I believe you will benefit from this change and I hope that all will unite to assist in this process, realizing that in the presence of this university in this city you have an immense treasure and an institution worthy of your support in all that it undertakes to do.

To President Bednar, my sincere thanks again for your herculean efforts, and to Sister Bednar, who has worked with you in this remarkable undertaking, I express deep gratitude.

To the Board of Trustees who embraced the suggestion that we make the effort to go forward with this transition and who have wholeheartedly done everything possible to assist, I express my thanks.

And finally, to the faithful tithe payers throughout the world whose consecrations have made this possible, I express my most sincere appreciation.

Brigham Young University–Provo has become a truly great institution, now recognized across the nation for the quality of the education it provides, for the strength of its faculty, and for its unique and large student body. It is a credit to the Church and will continue to be so.

BYU–Hawaii is doing a wonderful work and is accomplishing great things as it goes forward in training thousands of students on its beautiful campus.

And now, BYU–Idaho has become the third institution of growing strength under this unique BYU trilogy of great institutions of learning.

The Church has spent many millions in rebuilding the campus. It has spent these sacred funds to bless the lives of you students who come here. I hope you are grateful. I recognize that it is still costly to attend this university, but it is less costly than it would be almost anywhere else.

I see a great future for this institution. It will go forward under inspired leadership. It will grow in strength under a dedicated and able faculty. It will be increasingly recognized as its graduates move out across the world and fill positions of responsibility.

How do I know this?

I know this because this is an institution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its mission is well defined. That mission is to impart secular knowledge in a first-class manner while building faith in the Eternal God and His risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This Church will never fail. Jesus Christ stands at its head. And just as it will never fail, neither will its institutions and programs.

This university will succeed in a wonderful manner. It will take its place among the great learning facilities of our nation as we who have some attachment to it walk and work in faith. For this I humbly pray, invoking my love and blessing upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.